The story of Nehemiah and Ezra is a drama in three parts. The first part takes place in the sixth century B.C. in Babylon where the Persians under King Cyrus conquered the Babylonians and decreed that the exiled Israelites could return home to Jerusalem.
Nehemiah, a Jew living in Babylon at peace with the Persians, rose to a place of honor as a royal cup-bearer in the Persian court. In about 445 B.C., Nehemiah received a message from a relative who had just returned from a visit in Jerusalem. The relative, Hanani, reported bad news:
Thomas Willadsen Mary Austin Christopher Keating Dean Feldmeyer Ron Love George Reed Bethany Peerbolte
For January 20, 2018:
God Activates by Tom Willadsen — Perhaps God wants us to delight in each other and in the magnitude and depth of divine love. Perhaps the Lord wants to activate our gifts of the Spirit, to use them for the common good.
We are all intimately connected as one body in Jesus. Isaiah celebrates our intimate union with our creator, describing us as the joyful bride of God. Though there had been alienation and rejection from both sides in the past, the prophet describes us as God’s delight. That connection is also emphasized in Paul’s oddly graphic description of church folks as body parts — we need each other because we are not a living, breathing body if we are somehow separated.
When Jesus visited a wedding at Cana in Galilee, he showed that human disappointments matter to him and that he would be prepared to redeem them. This is a story about a young girl's bitter disappointment when she became a bridesmaid.